This was the anime I was waiting for the most this year. It looked like a more modern take of stories like Black Lagoon. These kinds on animes can be really good sometimes, other times they lack in many departments. So how was Gangsta?
Kind of a roller-coaster ride. One of the best intros ever, a very good atmosphere that combines darkness, hopelessness with the occasional humor. Some very well coreographed fights scenes and very strong pictures, but other times the fight scenes become mediocre slasher-scenes of the likes of Tokyo Ghoul and such.
Story: I have to compare it to Black Lagoon. Compared to that it actually made some strong improvements, for example we actualy get a decent amount of background story and we get to know the characters and their motivation(Balck Lagoon also improved in this department after season 1). I also like the fact that they took the time to present the city. A city full of darkness, sadness and depravity.
Its not complicated. The first few episodes show us the city from the viewpoint of the free-lance mercenaries. And these are the best episodes. The problems come when they really want to create a storyline. It becomes a simple slasher-flick instead of a character anime with great atmosphere. They somewhat redeemed themselves with the great last episode, but that wont make up for about 4 episodes of mindless bloodshed with the rare scenes that are actually good. So, starts out good, ends good, but they should not have included this stupid and bloody storyline.
To be honest if they hadnt included the whole super-strength fighters part it would have been way better. 6/10
Animation: I usually dont like this style much, but here, it suits the mood perfectly and I could not imagine a better animation style for Gangsta. Some fight scenes are very well coreographed, but others are just people getting chopped up like firewood. The last episode is a huge dose of what they can achieve if they actually put time into it with all around great visuals and strong scenes. 8/10
Sounds: I dont really remember the music, but the intro song is great. 7.5/10
Characters: I like them. Most of the main characetrs have a pretty decent background story and are interesting. I actually want things to turn out good for them, altough I kind of doubt it.
The thing I dont like(and I have the same complaint about Attack on Titans) is the body count. Ok, we understand, the Hunters are strong, but showing them kill people again and again and again is repetitive, it only adds some shock-value and its completely unnecessarry. (and I used the word "and" so much here just to demonstrate how repetitive it is to do something over AND over AND over again). 8/10
Overall: So, as I already said, I expected a lot from Gangsta(I expected it to be the anime of the year), so was it a disappointment? Well, yes and no. No, because I like it overall and it has very strong episodes and scenes, and yes, because they kind of ruined the whole thing with a few episdes that were just not needed. Im pretty sure that this huge body count is partially because of the success of animes like Attack on Titan, but I honestly feel that this is not the best way for anime to evolve.
Some anime were always bloody and dark, I actually like that aspect, but they are really going over the top. Watching a girl chop up people with an axe is cool and all, but watching it 1 time and 15 times doesnt really make a difference, it only demonstrates what the creators lack in storytelling skills. 7/10
I recommend Gangsta to fans of Black Lagoon, Requiem of Phantom, Cowboy Bebop and maybe Samurai Champloo, Gungrave.
If there wil be a second season, I will watch it, altough this time my expectation will be far lower.